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Download mIRC and install. (It installs in a snap.) Then fire it up while you're connected to the internet. In the mIRC menu go to File > Options and you'll get a dialogue box. The first heading is Connect. There you'll find a scrolling menu with LOTS of different IRC servers. Scroll down toward the bottom and choose one of the Undernet servers. I find those in Scandinavia work best. Then hit "Connect to IRC Server" and in a minute you'll be there. Then type /join #news_garden and all your political chat dreams will be come true! The first time shouldn't take but about 10 minutes total. After that less than a minute.

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Columns:

Note: Anyone who wishes to become a columnist
or submit a column or a response to a column
please contact Alllie.

The Rantings of an Angry, Fed Up Conservative

By Thargor

And they told you my types don't get angry. HA!

Let's set some ground rules: I am a conservative, but not a Republican. I defend Bush on some issues, but I will not support him or vote for him. I will often compare Democrats to Republicans, Bush to a Democrat, it does not imply that I am for one and not the other, or throwing my support in either direction. Let's get that clear. Now, continuing...

I think I reached a boiling point watching Jeopardy tonight. Who else put on a campaign commercial but John Kerry, who had a bunch of laughing dancing kids on display in the snow with a voiceover about "foreign dependence on oil."

He ended it on a note of something along with "I don't think we should have to go to war for oil." Y'know what, John Kerry? Fuck you. Not only did you vote for the fucking thing to begin with, you even said, very clearly, that your reasoning for voting for the war was a because of Saddam's standing off in the face of law and the UN. In fact, you only said the word "oil" once, and it was in terms of Saddam setting oil rigs on fire. So you obviously didn't think it was about oil then, even if the WMDs didn't pan out (and they weren't even the crux of YOUR argument). Besides, your whole argument is fundamentally flawed.

We're not any "more dependent on foriegn fuel" since Bush got into office due to anything he's done, for starters. Second, Bush has pushed and signed various legislation for advancement and incentives for alternative fuel sources, and you know that even the most conservative estimates say it will take a significant amount of time to standardize any sort of new fuel technology (and, by my own estimates, you figure at least 7-10 years before you get the majority of used cars that can't or won't be retrofitted), so what did you do when presented a plan to reduce the need for foriegn oil? You filibustered it.

I'm sick of the hypocrisy. I'm sick of the bullshit I get from the parts of the left who present a holier-than-thou attitude about their points of view and their thoughts. Let's pick Howard Dean apart, since he's the left wing darling of the moment.

(And if any of you are still with me, if you're going to say "But Dean isn't left wing!", I'm curious as to why Ralph Nader says that "Reading his position papers sounds eerily similar to what we've been saying.")

So yes, Mister Dean. Championed as a hero, a good guy who's not too much like a politician, he's down to earth. But, wait, the man is a career politician. Hell, technically, all you folks who are saying "Oh, Bush is too close to the establishment," you're supporting a guy who, for the exception of the last couple years, has been in public political office. Bush is truly further away from this "establishment" people fear than Dean is. Bush is only rich. Class warfare? I hope not...

But whatever. I mean, it's not really about the establishment. I mean, look at how Bush has governed! He's too secretive...you mean, like Dean? In the 8 December edition of Newsweek, there's an article about how Dean has convieniently locked away about 40% of his governor records until, lucky him, 2013. Amongst them is a Dick Cheney-esque secret energy meeting that lead to the selling of Vermont Yankee. A sale, by the way, that didn't help consumers the way he said they would.

But it's okay, Dean isn't "in the pocket" of the energy industry one bit. I mean, he surely didn't...wait...it appears he has recieved significant contributions from energy interests, including money from a group involved in the Vermont Yankee sale as well as an energy executive. Executive from what company? You guessed it right: Vermont Yankee.

So yeah, your left wing jewel likes gay marriage (nothing wrong there), supports affirmative action (a polarizing issue I'm opposite of, but not strongly), and wants to repeal Bush's tax cuts (which I believe is a big mistake). But the left, they like to point at the tax cuts and say "oh, they were for the rich, oh, they don't help the middle class." Well, interestingly enough, Dean is on record as saying he wants to repeal "all of the Bush tax cuts." Whether you want to live in a fantasy world or not, Bush's tax cuts did lower taxes on the middle class (by not nearly enough, but they did). So Dean's plan is to...raise taxes on the middle class?! So since Bush screwed the middle class out of a tax cut, the reasonable thing is to not lube up first? Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe goes into good detail here. Hey, it's a blog. Dean supporters LOVE blogs. And he's a liberal, so I'm not just picking people out of the air.

So of course, what does this leave us? I mean, most people can't tell the 9 Democrats apart, except that they'll take "anyone but Bush." Unless you're pretty firmly on the left or are very socially liberal, Bush has actually been a good friend to you. A short laundry list of Bush's not-conservative-at-all accomplishments and statements over the course of his term thus far:

- Signed John McCain (a left-leaning centrist Republican) and Russ Feingold's (a firm left Democrat) campaign finance reform bill, and then applauded the US Supreme Court's upholding on the law (more on that shortly)

- Signed a bill that expanded medicare. Don't believe the hype: It will cost more than $400 billion, and contrary to what's disguised as popular belief, will not force the elderly into private HMOs. At best, it's an imperfect prescription drug benefit, at worse, half a trillion dollars down the toilet. For what it's worth, the AARP endorsed it, and it's a hot button issue for the left.

- Pushed for and signed more unemployment benefits and extensions. - Recently, via executive order, created stricter environmental restrictions. This has been largely ignored by the media.

- Even though he allowed Congress to underfund it, signed the No Child Left Behind act, co-penned with lefty Ted Kennedy, which costs billions to implement.

- Homeland Security. Huge new bureaucracy, huge new budget line item, no real use.

- $600 billion deficit? Continued amazing rises in government spending?

The list goes on. Bush is not the right-wing wacko that some would like to paint him. Yes, his taxation policy and his social issues are decidedly conservative, and his foriegn policy is certainly of the neo-conservative (which is NOT CONSERVATIVE) persuasion, but Bush is to the Democrats as Clinton was to the Republicans. Remember, Clinton's the same guy who also had plenty of anti-homosexual items, for example, such as the infamous Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on homosexuals in the military and his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act. Aren't these the same things we crucify Bush for? Want more conservative things Clinton did, you can go to Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men." But Moore's voracious attacks on Bush only show he's a stupid white man himself, as Bush is eerily similar to the GOP's best friend/worst nightmare.

I'm running out of steam, but the US Supreme Court is in my sights now, too. This last month sent me over the edge, when they upheld the most disgusting parts of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. Not only was the court dead wrong on one part of this, a good argument can be made for another. But one step at a time:

- Someone needs to explain, in clear, consise english, how prohibiting political issue ads 60 days before an election is not prohibiting speech. How does that not fly in the face of the first amendment? I simply don't get it!

- Soft money ban. Some people say it "takes the money out of politics." One person on my LJ friends page went as far to say only "rich idiots" could be against that ban, believing that money equals expression. Well, y'know what, I don't know how it doesn't. I'm certainly not rich, and whether I'm an idiot will be up to you to decide individually, but it seems pretty clear that one way to express support for a candidate is to give him or her money, and one way to express opposition is to give his or her opponent(s) money. It's fairly clear. It costs money to speak in elections, expression is a form of speech, what's the problem. I've said before that I have less of an issue with the soft money ban than the issue ads, but I have issues.

So what's the tree I'm barking up? It has two trunks:

1) Demonstrate that much of the left is dead wrong about who they support and who they're against.

2) Show that there is at least one conservative who's ripping mad about the route this country is going.

3) That Bush doesn't equal conservative, thus conservatives aren't actually all lock step behind Bush.

Grr. -Jeff/Thargor


A RECAP OF THE USSC'S 2002 TERM

By Thargor

The United States Supreme Court ends another session this past week, and not without its share of landmark cases, and many that should worry anyone who cares about individual rights and the further erosion of the Constitution.

Now, I put on the table that I'm by no means a Constitutional Law student, merely someone who's fascinated by law, and even had genuine aspirations for law school at one point. I believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and I'm not afraid to admit it. This is essentially why the Court is worrying me as of late.

Most notable on the list are the rulings from this past month are the rulings on Michigan's Affirmative Action policy, and the striking down of the Texas Sodomy Laws. Many Conservatives are against both rulings, I fully support one and not another, and it raises a simple question. I present the 14th Amendment, which states the following:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Now, riddle me this: Why are homosexual relationships (which is what was being appealed, although I fully understand the capability of straight couples engaging in similar activities) worth "equal protection of the laws," and not different races? What makes sexual orientation that much more special? Shouldn't BOTH statutes have been shot down under the auspices of the 14th?

The Court, in its two decisions regarding affirmative action, made it a stricter policy, but still allow public colleges and universities to discriminate via race. So, isn't the court essentially saying that affirmative action is bad, and we must curb it, but its okay to keep it, because it increases "diversity?" Is this backwards? Scalia's dissent was interesting, as well as overboard, in condemning the concurring side of the court, but was he wrong? I fel like the Court has essentially okayed state racism, and I'm not convinced that this helps anything.

The sodomy ruling, however, was, in my opinion, a correct one for plenty of reasons. The thing is, (and it's probably a good thing), is that Rick Santorum, at least in regards to the legal ramifications, was probably correct. Santorum said back in April, causing great unnecessary commotion, that "[i]f the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery, you have the right to anything." While "anything" may be a bit of a stretch, this is probably something that the country would be better off to achieve, so for once the Court may have taken a step in the right direction.

This is an odd step from a court that has okayed the mandating of library internet filters, which just flies in the face of the privacy rights that the court so happily bestowed on the population, and, perhaps more importantly, is just another slap in the face of a wounded first amendment. It's an odd step from a court that has also taken an odd stance on Cross Burning, saying it's okay to ban that too. My first amendment just took another blow. The ability to ban speech, especially political and social speech that may be abhorrent to the majority, is a major, major turning point. Granted, the First Amendment has been under attack for a long time, but why weaken it further? It is very disappointing. A recap of the Court's year can be found here.

So it's been a year of overall disappointment from our friends in the Court. The smarter of us complained of activist court rulings in 2000, yet many of the same people now are applauding/condemning the same activism now. What we need are neutral strict constructionists on the court. I don't care if they're conservative, liberal, green, libertarian, mutant, cyborg, anything, as long as they can read the Constitution and interpret it with some sort of accuracy. We don't need two rulings in one week that seemingly go against eachother.

So what does this bring for the future? Well, in September, the Court rules on Campaign Finance Reform, one of the more important First Amendment issues to come in a long time. I think the Court has proven that it's certainly not a conservative court, and that we need to appoint more strict constructionists.

Am I confident that we'll get justice, however? Judging from the 2002 term, I'm not too sure.

-Jeff/Thargor


 

BUSH BASHING DONE WITH LACK OF EVIDENCE OR CONCERN FOR ACCURACY
By Thargor

First off, for your referencing pleasure, read this
GW Bush Resume Rebuttal.
It requires Adobe Acrobat, as an FYI.


When I tripped up on this earlier this afternoon, it really kinda bugged me on a few levels. I take part in a lot of different political chats, and you typically get your psycho right wingers, your looney libertarians (like myself), and your equally psycho hard lefties. You tend to discount those people who have really amazingly moronic things to say, like "Oh, Bush coordinated the terror attacks on 11 Sept," or "Karl Rove killed Paul Wellstone," but it still promotes a really scary attitude about political discussion and belief in general, and this "resume," taken alone, is no different.

I'm not a Bush fan, overall. I didn't vote for him in 2000, I won't vote for him in 2004, and while I agree with him on a number of issues, I have a major problem with his lack of focus and tiny-sized balls to actually get anything done. A pittance of a tax cut and a "cut" in spending by jacking up the budget another 3% while preaching fiscal responsibility isn't going to get you well in my book. So why is it that when I express doubt about things like Bush going AWOL (link discussed in resume) while with the National Guard, or say to someone "Yeah, I like the tax cut," I become a lock-step Bush supporter? How exactly does that work?

It's an interesting concept. Many on the left are (going overboard, in my opinion, in) feeling nervous about having dissent pertaining to the President to begin with, and feel ostracised when they speak out, pointing to moronic publicized episodes like Eddie Vedder impaling a Bush mask, or the DitsyDixie Chicks, as evidence of it. So why is it that they can go ahead and essentially throw anyone who agrees with a couple Bush policies in a huge box? It reeks of hypocrisy. But of course, would we expect anything less? These are the same people who complained of a smear campaign against Clinton, but instead of taking the high road with the new guy, attempt the same thing.

So with that said, moving back to the actual resume, I guess the question is this: Who writes this stuff? This guy has obviously done his research, and it seems that, for the most part, these things were readily available for fact checking, and completely vague when they were completely out of line. I feel like this is a total waste of time, and the sad thing is that the internet hasn't come to a point of self-censorship yet, so people are going to sit there and read this and say "oh my god, I never knew that about Bush," when the truth is that it's probably false in the first place. We'd rather focus on those things, or talk about an uncorroborated story of Bush asking the Brazilian President whether he had blacks in Brazil.

I'm not going to play liberal/conservative media, I think it's largely a crock of shit, although sometimes it does go one way or another. The problem is not whether the media is conservative or liberal, or rather why they do nothing to dispel this nonsense, even in print form. We have many good news sites on the internet right now, and we'd rather let these conspiracies go away. The news lately is all about how WMD really factored in the war with Iraq. Never mind that they convieniently leave out what Iraq declared in 1998, or what Saddam was even about, or anything like that, right? How does a famous national political observer like Michael Moore flat-out lie to millions of people in his book and movie (which probably shouldn't have won an Oscar) and get away with it, while we nitpick and assume that Bush automatically does? Maybe I'm missing something, I don't know.

Am I saying the right gets a raw deal here? Absolutely not, some of the odd things from the Clinton years (anyone remember how Clinton killed Vince Foster? Classic) continue to amuse me, so I suppose it's far from unordinary from either side. I guess it's too much to ask to look for a bit of honesty. Come out and say "Y'know what, no, you're a liar, and here are the facts, and we'll let the public decide." Is it too much to ask?

Well, maybe it is. And maybe that's the problem. 11 Sept brought about a reactionary climate on both sides, where strange bedfellows reside. Who would have thought that the left would say that Bush goes too far with his terror policy, when it was a leftie in Joe Lieberman who originally came up with the idea? Who would have thought that the Republicans would get all up in arms with an Estrada filibuster when they did similar things to Clinton nominees. Hypocrisy, indeed.

I want honesty to come out of all this. If you have something to say, back it up. Don't go and say "Oh, Bush invaded Iraq for oil" without some evidence. Don't say John Edwards is in the pocket of the trial lawyers unless you can point to something. And for god's sake, if you're going to say something SAY IT. Unless McCain gets into the Oval Office, no one's going to stop you from expressing your opinion. Dissent is a good thing, as long as you're aware of the baggage it carries, and the evidence it requires. -

Jeff/Thargor

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Articles of Interest

Bush and the Assassination of JFK by Paul Kangas

ANNALS OF DEMOCRACY : COUNTING VOTES by Ronnie Dugger (Nov 7, 1988)

Computerized Systems for Voting Seen as Vulnerable to Tampering by David Burnham, The New York Times (July 29, 1985) plus emphasis, links and comments

Sigmund Aas

The Terrorist's Achilles Heel: An Alternative Blow to Terrorism (June 24, 2004)

Aleister

Apocalypse Number Nine
(mp3, 2.9 meg, Oct 4, 2002)
Souces:Artist: Kumi Tanioka
Album: Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack (CD TWO)
Track :The Awakening
Vocals: George W. Bush
Plus Additional sounds & subliminal track
Editing by Aleister

Fun with Paperdolls
(May 19, 2003)

Algorythm

Just Say No!
( Oct 21, 2003)
A Real Protest (April 9, 2003)
Who's to Blame (Feb 20, 2003)
Listening to the Lies (Sept.12, 2002)
White Storm (August 2, 2003)
!!!Fight!!! (September 9, 2003)
Happy Endings: A Theory of (November 16, 2002)
It Just Isn't Fair
(December 11, 2003)
Every Picture Tells a Story (January 23, 2004)
Who Do You Trust? (April 17, 2004)
The Criminal - Fiction (May 8, 2004)
Why I Believe Bush is the Anthrax Terrorist (October 10, 2004)

Arachne & TaoUrso

TURTLE TALES: Exodus in a Tin Can on Wheels

Part 1 -
Part 2 -
Part 3 -
Epilogue

Turtle Tales II: The Road Warrior (November 2004)

Jimmy2k^

What is the American Way of Life (Jan27, 2003)
America is Under Siege (Dec 3, 2002)
Ozzy Osbourne - American Idol
(Nov 26, 2002)
Thomas Jefferson and Ann Coulter - Comparison and Contrast (Nov 21, 2002)
Some Thoughts on American Media (Nov 11, 2002)
Some Thoughts on Addiction
(Oct 28, 2002)
What Color is the Sky? (Oct 25, 2002)
The End is Near - And Other Truths
(Oct 7, 2002)

Hoopie

News_Asylum (Sept 15, 2002)

ItsMarty

Virtue is not chosen, the chosen becomes virtuous (October 14, 2003) Conspiracy Theory This!(November 18, 2003)
Black & White (November 21, 2003)
From Cordoba to Jerusalem (November 25, 2003)
Free Speech and Intolerance (January 20, 2004)
State of the Old Union seen from the New Union (Febuary 2, 2004)

KG4ZMP
Lunar Cheese And Federal Pork
(January 20, 2004)

Lester Michaels

Morality & Ethics: A case study of the Carlyle Group

Marij
Bush's Folly

Samurai_Liberal

Election 2000-Highway Robbery and a Supreme Court Disgrace-

Part 1 (May 23, 2003)
Part 2
(May 29, 2003)
Part 3 (June 12, 2003)
Part 4 (July 8, 2003)

TaleWgnDg

Bush Is Packing The Federal Courts: What Can I Do? (June 28, 2003)

Thargor

The Rantings of an Angry, Fed Up Conservative

BUSH BASHING DONE WITH LACK OF EVIDENCE OR CONCERN FOR ACCURACY (July 1, 2003)

A RECAP OF THE USSC'S 2002 TERM (July 5, 2003)

Warpster

The Myth of Free Trade (Febuary 3, 2004)

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